John Williams Tribute Concert at UJ

On February 19th, the University of Jamestown Wind Ensemble and Jamestown Community Band presented “Heroes Among Us, A Tribute to John Williams “. A collaboration of popular tunes and specifically John Williams written pieces. Before this year, the community band was all but forgotten about, but thanks to Darien Lund and Dr. Jason Kihle, we were able to bring it back to Jamestown. The concert was opened with a very warm welcome from the director of voices at UJ, Richard Walentine. While this was a John Williams tribute, the community band played all different kinds of songs by different composers. They opened with “Mayflower Overture”. An epic poem told in song about the pilgrims coming to the New World, composed by Ron Nelson in 1958. The piece goes through 3 different sections “Departure”, “Storm”, and “Arrival in the New World. This was my favorite of all the selections that the Jamestown Community Band performed. This band went on to perform very popular pieces, such as “Mamma Mia” and “Fairest of the Fair”, as well as some smaller pieces like “Canterbury Chorale” and “Nevermore”. Overall, the community band was filled with very experienced and well taught instrumentalists. Some who have been playing all their lives and some who haven’t picked up an instrument since High School. It was lovely to hear this cultivation of talent and art put all in one band.

Once the community band was done playing, it took around 10 minutes to set up for the University of Jamestown Wind Ensemble, which quite quick for one band to switch to another. We are now onto the John Williams Tribute part of the performance. All songs the Wind Ensemble played was composed by none other than John Williams. Why is UJ Wind Ensemble playing all John Williams songs? Because, John Williams is officially retired as this year. His final song composition is the newest Indiana Jones movie coming out sometime in 2023. Dr. Jason Kihle knew this, so he wanted to put his name into lights at the University of Jamestown as a nod to his brilliance. What songs do you think would be played in a John Williams tribute concert? All Star Wars songs right? WRONG! Dr. Kihle said “John Williams is NOT ONLY Star Wars, plus this university has played enough Star Wars songs in its past.” The Wind Ensemble started their set with the thrilling themes of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” from the popular movie Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Followed by one of John’s favorite compositions, the main theme of Schindler’s List. In this piece, the Wind Ensemble was accompanied by a talent violinist, Domonique Jean Scobee. The Wind Ensemble went on to absolutely kill it while playing a few march songs, “Olympic Spirit” and “March from 1914“. They finished off the concert with two of John Williams’ most popular songs. The theme of “Catch Me If You Can” and “Hymn of the Fallen”. “Catch Me If You Can” is a complex song to play with many tempo changes and solo following. The entire song was soloed by Shannon Bryn (Senior at UJ). On the complete other side of the spectrum, “Hymn of the Fallen” is a slow and heart tugging piece that will have you in tears. This was a fantastic way to end the amazing show that was put on last Sunday night.

Overall, this was a fantastic performance to be a part of and it was even more fun to listen to all the talent that Jamestown has to offer.

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